The Tin Drum (The Danzig Trilogy, #1)
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The Tin Drum (The Danzig Trilogy #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  19,819 ratings  ·  827 reviews
Meet Oskar Matzerath, "the eternal three-year-old drummer." On the morning of his third birthday, dressed in a striped pullover and patent leather shoes, and clutching his drumsticks and his new tin drum, young Oskar makes an irrevocable decision: "It was then that I declared, resolved, and determined that I would never under any circumstances be a politician, much less a...more
Paperback, 567 pages
Published 2005 by Vintage (first published 1959)
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Tia
Apr 04, 2007 Tia rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Your [intellectual] inner beast.
I had an intense reaction to this book. I friggin hated it. Or, rather, I loved to hate it, while I was reading it. It was an assignment in a Postmodern Lit. class, and everyone in the class liked the protagonist but me. I thought he was awful. I couldn't believe they enjoyed him, much less admitted to enjoying him. But some part of me must have understood.

...That was the point. This is a story I felt in my stomach. It was so full of perversion, of the grotesque, and I was 20 and a "good girl" a...more
Dan
My reaction to finishing this book was 'thank god that's over'. I thought it was interesting in the abstract, but at times I couldn't stand reading it. The unreliable main character Oskar, decides to stop growing at the age of three . He refuses to speak, and communicates by banging on his titular drum. I gather this is supposed to reflect German societies refusal to accept the realities of the rise of Nazism and their complicity in it. But I don't really care. My problem with the book wasn't th...more
Jamie B.
Jan 23, 2008 Jamie B. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jamie by: Nathan, 'A Novel Idea' bookclub
Shelves: favorites
The plot, characters, and setting are all top-notch, but what makes Drum a stellar read is its tone. A reviewer might have described it as 'sardonically irreverant' had not Waiting for Guffman been the source of the phrase. Dripping with arrogance and wit against a macabre backdrop, The Tin Drum follows our sturdy-at-three-feet protagonist Oskar from his vivid recollections of his own birth through Hitler's occupations of Danzig, DE and Oskar's familial Poland through many other no doubt excitin...more
Dracu
"What more shall I say: born under light bulbs, deliberately stopped growing at age of three, given drum, sang glass to pieces, smelled vanilla, coughed in churches, observed ants, decided to grow, buried drum, emigrated to the West, lost the East, learned stonecutter's trade, worked as model, started drumming again, visited concrete, made money, kept finger, gave finger away, fled laughing, rode up escalator, arrested, convicted, sent to mental hospital, soon to be acquitted, celebrating this d...more
Maureen
Jul 24, 2010 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone, with enthusiasm
Recommended to Maureen by: Tom Carson
Shelves: anti-war, novel
The world portrayed in The Tin Drum is brutal and harsh, and, at the same time freakishly strange. There is an aspect to violence that disconnects from everyday reality. In this book, seen through the eyes of its diminutive hero, it becomes downright surreal. Though the tone may be fantastic, Grass does a better job of capturing life under Nazi rule than anything else I have ever read. Even in translation, his language is dazzling, and one thing is certain: after reading what happens at the end...more
K.D. Absolutely
I am not sure how to rate this book. I am not sure if I like it or hate it. It is just out of this world and Gunter Grass (Nobel Prize in Literature awardee) is just in his own league.

The book is about a midget who refused to grow up. He decided to stop growing up at the age of 3 when he also started to beat his drum. His story as a child (Book 1) coincides with the pre-holocaust period in Poland. The scenes that struck me here the most are the 5-layer skirt of his grandmother where his grandfa...more
Noce
GRRRRRR come GRass

Del fatto che Gunter scrivesse bene ci si accorge subito.
Soprattutto quando passa dalla prima alla terza persona con la leggerezza con cui il barista di fiducia, ti chiede se “oggi il croissant lo vuole alla marmellata o al cioccolato?”.
L’idea di basare la storia su un cambio di prospettiva è decisamente estrosa, e verrà persino ripresa in una famosa scena di un film altrettanto noto di fine anni ’80, in cui un insegnante di lettere invita i suoi studenti a salire sul banco, pe...more
Drew
Pop quiz: what's the name of that book with the physically deformed protagonist who's got paternity uncertainty and lives his own country's history? You know, he's got a superpower that sort of fades in and out as the book progresses, and, if I recall correctly, a relative who can cook feelings into soups. And he falls in with a group of weird kids with comical nicknames like Eyeslice and PuttPutt. No, it's not Midnight's Children. I'm talking about the one with the narrator who tells the whole...more
Karl
I learned that I don't find eccentric midgets that make highly stylized allusions to archaic information and literature very interesting, but that I do like it when eccentric midgets kill their fathers and have lots of sex. So ultimately this book taught me I am shallow; goodbye Harpers, hello National Enquirer.
Tyler
Aug 19, 2008 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Author's Nobel Prize
Describing this book's good points is hard, so I'll start with the echoes. This book of overlapping situations gives off echoes even past its last page. People, places and things all have echoes.

A work of magical realism about a demented dwarf shouldn't appeal to me. Descriptions of the book as “humorous” or “hilarious” are odd, because nothing about war is funny. Nor are Germans funny. But I read the book anyway. Grass writes with wit and sometimes dry humor, but adjectives describing The Tin...more
Mikela
This is going to be the very, very short version as one would have to write pages to do justice to this book and I'm just not up to it. In a nutshell..Oskar is born with the understanding of an adult. He hears a conversation between his mother and her husband in which the husband says Oskar will grow up and take over the family grocery store. The mother says when Oskar is three he will get a drum. The horror! A life running the grocery store is not to Oskar's liking but he likes the idea of the...more
Zorena
I swear I could hear that drum playing in my head at odd moments. Especially every time I tried to write this review. I think it was my own warning to pay proper homage to a brilliant book. It always amazes me how some authors can take some dark passages of a characters life and treat it with a humour that doesn't detract from the seriousness of the subject.

I wanted to kick Oskar in the rump almost as often as I wanted to hug him. What an exasperating protagonist but I suspect he is very much a...more
Jonfaith
Funny I missed rating and reviewing this jewel. This is the lodestar, the mandrake root, the intrepid ooze making friends in the lukewarm pools of primeval poetry. This was the point of departure. A hallowed book I finished in a laundromat. I almost can't remember my reading life before wee Oskar. Eels, fizz, post offices, onions and Dusters have littered my imagination seemingly forever. I wanted to read the new translation and likely will someday. My memories of my own grandmother now smell li...more
Micha
Günter Grass's 'Die Blechtrommel' is like an onion or, better said, a rose, since the onion analogy is dreadfully overused nowadays. Also, it gives a wrong impression about the mounting importance of the successive layers. Rose petals are more appropriate as they are identical, democratic. One petal covers another only in terms of its visibility. In this way, 'Die Blechtrommel' is first an adventure novel. Following the wild escapades of the self-willed three-year-old Oskar, the novel takes read...more
matt

Wonderful template for modern magic realism. I picked this up in the bookstore and was immediately hooked by the first hundred pages or so. Than it began to cool off for me, right between the 200-300 mark and then it came round the bend strong.

Some of the prose here is just un-fucking believable. Moving, 'darkly funny'(even though that proud distinction has been overused to within an inch of its life, to the point of utter meaninglessness) and satire with a furious moral imperative which never s...more
Camille Stein
“¿Qué más diré? Nací bajo bombillas, interrumpí deliberadamente el crecimiento a los tres años, recibí un tambor, rompí vidrio con la voz, olfateé vainilla, tosí en iglesias, nutrí a Lucía, observé hormigas, decidí crecer, enterré el tambor, huí a Occidente, perdí el Oriente, aprendí el oficio de marmolista, posé como modelo, volví al tambor e inspeccioné cemento, gané dinero y guardé un dedo, regalé el dedo y huí riendo; ascendí, fui detenido, condenado, internado, saldré absuelto; y hoy celebr...more
Fahad
تنبيه: فيما يأتي كشف لأحداث الرواية.

الطبل الصفيح

قرأت الرواية ومن ثم شاهدت الفيلم الألماني الذي صنع منها سنة 1979 م، وحاز على أوسكار أفضل فيلم أجنبي، وقام بدور أوسكار فيه (دايفد بينيت) وأخرجه المخرج الألماني فولكر شلوندرف، فلذا سأتحدث عن الرواية والفيلم معا ً.

في البداية علي أن أعترف بأن القراءة لغونتر غراس متعبة، فخلاف أن الرواية تتمدد في نسختها العربية على 687 صفحة، تندر فيها الحوارات، وهذا يعني بنيان متراص يرويه لنا بأسلوبين (أوسكار ماتسرات) بطل الرواية وصاحب الطبول الصفيحية – لم يكن طبلا ً و...more
Alex
Mar 27, 2013 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: hunchbacked dwarf musical prodigies
What a tightrope act of a book this is. Sustaining the totally unreliable, possibly insane voice of Oskar through a book this long without stumbling or stretching our suspension of semi-belief is a hell of a task, and Grass totally nails it. I found this entertaining, funny, sad, weird and wholly likeable.

I do wish I hadn't read that part about catching eels while eating a sandwich. That shit was gross as hell.

Anyone know where I can get my hands on some of this fizzpowder stuff?
Rachel Kowal
Wow. This took me a while to get through, but I'm glad I read it. The Tin Drum has all the makings of an imaginative mythology brimming with magical realism. It contains botched romances, mistaken/questionable paternity, death by eels, an insane asylum, a freak circus, a strange chronology, a severed finger, and one unforgettable (and unreliable) character and storyteller - Oskar Matzerath.

At times, The Tin Drum reminds me of a darker and more convoluted version of John Irving's A Prayer for Owe...more
Scott Smithson
If you wish to know where the ideas for 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' and 'Midnight's Children' came from, you should probably read 'the Tin Drum'. If you enjoy stories about children who refuse to grow up in the not allegorical sense or if you enjoy having the allegory of not growing up being beaten across your brow, then this is the book for you.

I get it. Art (the drum) causes good things, like breaking up a Nazi rally. The scream, (the voice) causes bad things, like Kristallnacht. I get it. Oska...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
"Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight..." Thus starts this long narration of a book. Telling the story is Oskar, a midget who, for a long time never grew beyond three feet. He has a lecherous origin. His maternal grandfather was the midget in the family, an arsonist who, while fleeing from those who were pursuing him, hid inside the four-layered skirts of his grandmother. Inside smelled like rancid butter which the midget liked...more
Nate D
Gunter Grass is inventive and talented, but he doesn't write characters, he writes props. I know, I know, before you yell "but you adore Pynchon!" at me, let me just say that Pynchon at least admits that forcing characters to be forever at the mercy of plot mechanisms is a weak point in his writing, and as such actually does seem to take pains to people his novels with compelling, memorable, and sympathetic casts (who then sometimes get railroaded into plot devices). But Grass seems more not to...more
umberto
This is another book (I read nearly seven years ago) with its missing review and rating. It's a bit difficult to recall what I said here since I can't find the book itself to consult except its Thai translation entitled, 'กลองสังกะสี'. Therefore, my GR friends, please forgive me if my review's not met any of your literary expectations. One of the reasons is that my review'd focus on trying to answer the key question above the right corner there: What did you think?

I think this novel's worth read...more
Stephanie
Dec 29, 2008 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone
I read this book for the second time because I love it so much and because I wanted to study the way the author fashions sentences for the benefit of my own writing. He is a master of the active voice, the unreliable narrator and (in my opinion) magic realism. You can just get lost in the writing--during some passages I get the sensation of frosting being spread on a cake.

It reminds me in some ways of Lolita, another example of beautiful writing and great desperate, doomed emotion. (Also both ar...more
Lee
One of the reasons I read . . .
E. Thomas
I like bawdy jokes and tall tales, but 560 pages of orifice-poking whimsy rather tries the patience. Benny Hill came to mind, to a soundtrack of Herp Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. I'm not fond of galumphing picaresque novels (Catch-22, Midnight's Children). They buttonhole the reader with a twitchy, houndstooth-jacketed geezer whose manic quips are meant to underline that, behind the grin, behind the indefatigable displays of logorrhea and alliterative giddiness, lies PATHOS. For a while it se...more
David
NOTE: possibly useful information if you haven't started The Tin Drum yet.

There are two English translations of this book: an award-winning 1961 translation by Ralph Manheim, and a 2009 translation by Breon Mitchell. Starting with the “Translator's Afterword” in the Mitchell translation might add your enjoyment and understanding of this book, no matter which translation you end up reading.

End possibly useful information. Begin opinion.

I must admit that I laughed out loud at the Afterword when I...more
Aistė
Personažų paradas. Grassas vaizduotės turtingumu pranoksta magiškojo realizmo meistrus... Keturi bulvių spalvos senelės Bronski sijonai, padegėjas senelis, medicinos seselės, vienaragis, Rasputinas ir Getė - lektūra besimokančiam skaityti Oskarui, stiklą raižantis balsas, būgnijantis Jėzus ir 'kedentojų' vaidinimas tuščioje bažnyčioje, trikampio veido Liuci, valganti sumuštinius su dešra, partijos ženkliukas, kuriuo paspringo Maceratas, Hitleris ir Bethovenas ant priešingų sienų, įtariai spoksan...more
Marius van Blerck
I meant to read this many years ago, when the film was all the rage. I still haven't seen the film, but I've finally read the book. Was there a t-shirt? The story of Oskar Matzerath, the Danzig boy who refused to grow, is well-known, in that "well-known book that few actually read" kind of way. The impression given by the publicity surrounding the film is that it is a powerful anti-Nazi statement. The book is nothing of the sort. Oskar disrupts a few Nazi parades, but to me he seemed largely ind...more
Amir ali
طبل حلبی اتوبيوگرافی تخيلی يک بيمار روانی به نام «اسکار» است که در يک آسايشگاه روانی بستری می‌باشد. اسکار کوتوله‌ای است که از سه سالگی رشد نکرده است. او سه سال است که «طبل حلبی» را به عنوان هديه دريافت می‌کند و بعد از دريافت اين هديه تصميم می‌گيرد که هميشه بچه بماند و هيچ‌گاه به جهان بزرگ‌سالان وارد نشود.

اسکار استعداد فوق‌العاده‌ای در آواز خواندن دارد به‌طوری که می‌تواند با صدای بم خاصی آواز بخواند، صدايی که می‌تواند شيشه‌ها را بشکند. در سرتاسر داستان اسکار از اين استعداد فوق‌العاده‌اش بهره می‌گ...more
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Günter Wilhelm Grass is a Nobel Prize-winning German author and playwright.
He was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). Since 1945, he has lived in West Germany (now Germany), but in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood.
He is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum, a key text in European magic realism. His works frequently have a strong left wing,...more
More about Günter Grass...
Cat and Mouse (The Danzig Trilogy, #2) Crabwalk Dog Years (The Danzig Trilogy, #3) The Flounder Peeling the Onion

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“Granted: I AM an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peep-hole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.” 26 likes
“Even bad books are books and therefore sacred.” 23 likes
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